A Natural Fertility Primer to Time Intercourse
While we know we don't need to tell you about the birds and the bees, there still exist some misconceptions surrounding the finer points of fertility. This isn't surprising given that not all of the prevailing wisdom of recent decades has held up, and some questions remain unanswered.
Still, there is now a consensus within the medical community on sexual practices, diet and lifestyle choices that optimize natural fertility. The goal is to provide you with practical guidelines for increasing your chances of conceiving naturally, whether you and/or your partner have some challenges which may affect your fertility, or not.
What is "normal" fertility?
Women are most fertile during the first three months of unprotected sex, after which fertility begins to decrease. "Infertility" is a disease generally defined as the inability to conceive following 12+ months of regular unprotected intercourse. By their late 30's, relative fertility has decreased by half for most women. Fertility in men also decreases with age, but the effects aren't usually appreciable before age 50.
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Trying to conceive at home
Common misperception involves sexual positions and post-coital practices. Neither has been proven to impact the probability of conception - so there is no need to lay still, hips raised, etc. following intercourse. There is also no evidence that female orgasm plays a role in fertility, or that any sexual position can influence infant gender.
Commercially available vaginal lubricants (e.g. KY Jelly, Astroglide, and Touch) have been shown to inhibit sperm mobility, and therefore may adversely impact fertility. They should be avoided by couples hoping to conceive. Mineral oil, canola oil, and Pre-Seed can be used.
Fertility Window & Monitoring Ovulation
A woman's "fertile window" occurs in the 6 days leading up to ovulation, with her most fertile time falling in the 2 days before ovulation. This time of peak fertility varies considerably from woman to woman, and can be difficult to predict accurately, particularly for women with irregular cycles, such as is often the case for women with PCOS.
That said, it's important to recognize that following a strict schedule - not to mention infertility itself - it may impact your desire to have sex at all. The frequency of intercourse therefore needs to be a personal choice.
The best ways to predict Ovulation at home
The most effective way to conceive is to plan intercourse for your most fertile days. For this, it's important to accurately predict ovulation.
1. Tracking cervical mucus; the probability of conception is highest when mucus is slippery and clear.
3. Home Luteinizing Hormone (LH) detection kits available at your local pharmacy, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, CVS, or Walmart. I bought mine online was Amazon. The Clearblue ovulation test is simple and easy to use home ovulation kit. The test incorporates a rapid assay that is able to detect the pre-ovulation LH surge that is present in a woman's urine sample. Generic brands work similarly, and may have similar accuracy, displaying results within about 3 minutes.
LH levels typically rise 24-36 hours before ovulation. The surge can last between 12-24 hours, and is an accurate and reliable marker of impending ovulation.
Diet and lifestyle Considerations
For diet and lifestyle considerations to maximize health for pregnancy, please see the Lifestyle and Dietary recommendations to optimize eggs.
The above text was taken directly from the Hannam Fertility Centre in Toronto resources provided to new patients.
Did you know all this about fertility?
Comment if anything surprised you, or you have anything to add!
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